How To Take Epic Photos Of Your Horse
We have all seen awesome photos of horses. But while most of use don’t have the ability to hire a professional photographer to come out and take pictures of our horses, that doesn’t mean you can’t take epic photos of your horse! If you have your own camera, you could do a photo shoot with your horse. And if you have a couple of hours to work with those photos you could make them even better. Then you can hang those memories on the wall to keep forever.
And this past weekend, I had the opportunity to spend a little time with my horses out of the saddle and on the ground taking photos of them. I had a lot of fun, and I think they were both happy with the situation of not being ridden.
You can make the whole session, including the editing of your pictures in about three hours. The photo shooting alone, without the setup, can be done in about half an hour depending on how many photos you want to capture. The set up will depend on what it is you want to capture. If your horse is well groomed, and your barn or property is fairly neat and tidy it shouldn’t take you long to get ready to take some great photos.
And once you are done taking the pictures, the editing is fairly simple, even if you have a lot of different pictures. Because you are photographing everything in the same conditions you can work with one picture and copy everything to the other pictures. The editing can also be done in about half an hour.
If you want your photography to encompass more than just one horse, or tack changes, etc. plan a bit more time for the photo shoot portion.
One good thing for this is, you can do it without expensive camera gear. If you have a DSLR camera that can take RAW photos, you will get better results. And to learn more about RAW vs. JPG images I would recommend you visit ‘real’ photography websites like Digital Photography School. There are a lot of helpful articles if you are just getting started with photography. You can get by with the kit lens on the camera, or if you have better glass (a lens) use it. You should also have a tripod and photo processing software like Lightroom.
You will not need a high-quality camera for this. If you have one good for you. But this kind of photo shooting will work with any camera you have. I have several cameras. My most loved camera is a Nikon D7100.
And something new that I recently got was my first every mirrorless camera. A Sony A7. It is a full frame camera that does not have a mirror inside. I decided to get this because I wanted a full frame camera, but not the price tag that goes along with it. The lenses for this camera are not cheap, but you can buy an adapter so you can use the other lenses you have on your fancy full frame camera.
I am still learning with this camera, but I have been really happy with the photos I have been able to get using it.
To get these images, I used two of the camera I have just to play around, and see what kind of shots I could get of my boys. Just remember, it’s not the camera itself that will capture the moments, it’s what you seen through the viewfinder and capture that makes a great photo.
Here are a few examples from different cameras that I was able to capture:
Again, I am using what I have. And I love camera, and camera gear almost as much as I love my horse gear.
I Love Lightroom
One of the most important things that makes a difference in the photos I take is using a RAW photo processing program like Lightroom. You can do a lot with editing photos in a program like Lightroom. And it is very easy to use. Lightroom was the first Adobe software program I used, and I still use it to this day. Photoshop is fantastic, but it’s a lot harder to use.
This is an example of the photo right out of the camera:
And what I was able to do with it in Lightroom:
Same photo, I just did a little tweaking in Lightroom to make it something special. If you haven’t tried Lightroom, but always wanted too, you should. It is affordable through Adobe’s Creative Cloud option. This photo took me about 5 minutes to edit. Not too bad if I do say so myself!
The location for your photo shoot is the most important thing. It does not need to be beautiful location, because our focus is on the horse. So, having a clean horse would be ideal. But you should find something that fits the type of photo you want to capture. It should not be too dark or too light. It can be helpful if there is some artificial lights from up above, say like a barn aisle, or even a lamp on the ceiling of the barn, or in the front of the barn.
Good locations are a big barn, out in a field, or in front of the barn. If you want to make the photos during the day, pay attention to where the sun is. The sun can make some harsh shadows in your end photo, so pay attention to where the sun is!
The composition of your photo is what makes it a photo look great, or a snapshot. To make your photo look more professional, be sure to capture all of your horse. Don’t cut off the tops of his ears, or his hooves. Unless you are getting close up shots, then be sure to have all of the area in the photo.
Composition is what makes a photo stand out. It isn’t the camera, or the lens, it is how you have captured the subject. Three standard compositions are: a front view, a side view and something between the front and the side view.
But that is what is so fun with photography. YOU can make the composition anything you want it to be!
If you taken some standard shots of your horse (your subject) you can also take some details shots. Good areas to focus on are the face, a swirl in a hair pattern, a muzzle, ears or the eye. If you are getting fancy and have your horses mane or tail braided, these can be some great shots as well. And if you r horse is tacked up, some close up shots of the tack, or bridle can be really nice too.
If you want to experiment a bit you can also put a strong light source behind the horse, or whatever it is you are photographing and play around to see what you come up with.
The post processing is somewhat simple. And the more you play with the editing software, the easier it will become. All editing can be made in Lightroom. If you are proficient in Photo Shop, you could use this program as well.
But if you aren’t really wanting to invest in Photoshop or Lightroom, there are free software programs too. Gimp is a program that works a lot like Photoshop. And an even easier program is Paint.Net. Or you can upload your images to the internet and play around with different online programs like Pic Monkey, or Canva.
First you process the picture that the horse looks good. You can add in more contrast to add depth to the photo. Photo’s with higher contrast can look stunning and turn a snapshot into a piece of art.
Practice, Practice, Practice
If you want to get better with photography you need to practice. And you can’t practice if your camera is siting in a box or on a shelf somewhere. Make it a habit to always have a camera with you. And remember to slow down for a minute or two and capture a memory. Horses are always doing comical things, but they are usually only for an instant. If you have your camera with you, you might be able to capture something happening, and keep it forever.
So bring your camera with you out to the barn, and get ready to have some fun photographing your horse! And as always, I need to make sure I do a disclaimer! I do have affiliate links within this blog post. So if you decide to make a purchase through one of the links I have provided, I do receive a small commission from your purchase. It doesn’t cost you anything, and I get a little help to continue doing what I do on my blog, podcast and YouTube channel. So thank you for your continued support!